The world has changed a lot since Copenhagen: the science has become more alarming; the impacts more severe; and the politics more potent. The world's two biggest polluters -- China and the United States -- have put energy and climate change at the heart of their bilateral relationship.
The Marshall islands were subjected to dozens of nuclear tests, carried out by the U.S. after 1945.
According to the Associated Press, the island group filed suit in late April against each of the nine nuclear-armed powers in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.
"Climate change is here, climate change is happening, and we have to do something about it," William Aila Jr., Chair of the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, repeatedly emphasized during his opening remarks at a recent briefing.
Whether the people of the Marshall Islands and many other Small Island States will ultimately be forced by climate change to leave their homes in search of higher and safer ground, depends largely on the actions we take -- the decisions that governments make -- in the next few years.
Lying just six feet above the water some 2,000 miles south-west of Hawai'i, there is no doubt that the Marshall Islands stands at the front line. But our story here is quickly becoming the story of people everywhere.
I read over the plea from the Marshall Islands asking citizens of the world, corporations and other governments to help stop global warming before their island nation goes underwater and wondered: Is it OK if we fail them just a little bit?
Who pays for the increasing weather-related disasters? Where do we move if we are left with no choice but to leave our homes? Why does climate change deal its toughest blows to those that contribute to it the least?